Author: Frank N. Wilner

Dissecting Failed Rail Labor Talks

It is more than two years since the rail industry’s 12 labor unions and management (representing most Class I railroads and some smaller ones) commenced bargaining to amend contracts defining wages, benefits and work rules.

Primus To Be Renominated to STB

President Joe Biden on June 22 announced his intention to renominate Democrat Robert E. Primus to a second term of five years on the Surface Transportation Board (STB).

Did NMB Cozy-Up to Rail Labor?

It may be the “snooker” of this century, and there’s not much railroads can do about it so long as Democrats control both chambers of Congress.

NMB Starts Clock Toward Rail Shutdown

The National Mediation Board (NMB) on June 14 set in motion a ticking time bomb toward an economy-jolting national railroad shutdown within 90 days, its two Democratic members agreeing with rail labor—and over the remonstrance of carriers and the NMB’s lone Republican—that a voluntary agreement to amend unionized rail worker wages, benefits and work rules is not within reach.

STB Opts for Transparency Over Fiat

WATCHING WASHINGTON, RAILWAY AGE JUNE 2022 ISSUE: At a late April Surface Transportation Board (STB) hearing, up bobbed aggrieved shipper witnesses, one following another as hammers in a pianoforte, much as Charles Dickens (Bleak House) amusingly described the successive appearances in chancery of 18 attorneys.

Pressure on NMB to Keep Sides Bargaining

As the Surface Transportation Board (STB), Federal Maritime Commission and Department of Transportation struggle to ease a problematic supply chain crisis, pressure is mounting on the National Mediation Board (NMB) to prevent a nationwide railroad work stoppage by guiding rail labor and management to a voluntarily negotiated agreement to amend union-member wages, benefits and work rules.

Threat Lurks to STB’s Independence

Once upon a time, conservative jurists were the best friends to federal regulatory agencies such as the Surface Transportation Board (STB). When those agencies pushed the boundaries of their decision-making independence, federal courts considered them experts in their field and accordingly deferred to their interpretations of the statutes they administered.

NMB to Rule on Election-Year Rail Shutdown

The National Mediation Board (NMB) has agreed to give the nation’s 12 railroad labor unions, representing some 125,000 unionized rail workers, an opportunity May 24-26 to demonstrate their commitment to a voluntarily negotiated settlement with most of the nation’s railroads over changes in wages, benefits and work rules.

Can STB Motivate Rails to Improve Service?

WATCHING WASHINGTON, RAILWAY AGE MAY 2022 ISSUE: Have you tried pushing on a string? Therein lies a challenge facing the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which regulates rates and practices of freight railroads.

CSX CEO Lost Situational Awareness

Whatever was CSX CEO James M. Foote thinking when he testified before the STB’s “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service” hearing April 26? His display of disdain for the agency—in particular, White House-nominated and Senate-confirmed STB member Robert A. Primus—was evident in mannerisms and sarcastic responses.